Pedalboard 104: Creating Tone “Presets” For Pedals WiredGuitarist January 4, 2019 Articles, Pedal Reviews, Uncategorized Love your pedals but wish you had the flexibility of “presets” or “channel switching” like digital modelers? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. What Is It? Known as a “loop switcher,” these units are essentially a series of independent loops – much like the effects loop on your amp – that you can put one or multiple pedals in and turn them on or off using the controller. So what’s the benefit of this? It’s just another on button, right? There are two major benefits to loop switchers… 1) They are typically true bypass, which means it removes each pedal from the signal entirely, meaning if you have a buffered bypass pedal that impacts your tone negatively when the pedal isn’t on, you can remove it from your signal chain and therefore remove its tonal contribution. 2) You can put more than one pedal in each loop, making a single press of a switch turn on/off multiple pedals at a time. How They Work Say you’ve got a clean tone with chorus, delay, and a clean boost. Then, you’ve got your rhythm tone that’s just an overdrive pedal and a graphic EQ for some extra tweaking. You’d have to tap dance to press 5 different switches to go from your clean sound to your rhythm tone. Hardly efficient! It takes time, it’s annoying, and it’s hardly a seamless transition. To fix this, we take a loop switcher and put your chorus, delay, and clean boost in Loop 1. In Loop 2, we can put your overdrive and your graphic EQ. Now all you have to do is hit two switches, one to turn off Loop 1, and another to turn on Loop 2. In actuality, you don’t even need to hit two switches. If they’re next to each other you can likely step on them both at once for a perfectly seamless single-press transition between your guitar tones. I used to look at my set lists and move my pedal loops depending on where my patch changes would be to make sure I could do them all with a single button press. If that’s still a bit of a pain, there’s always the dark side… The Next Level: Digital Switchers That being said, if you’ve got a bit more money and only ever want to have to press one switch you can buy a digital loop switcher instead. A digital loop switcher will let you turn on/off any number or configuration of your loops with a single button push, meaning you don’t need to plan out your setlist like I used to do. Of course, digital also means you’ve got access to MIDI switching, if you’re into that sort of thing. Automated digital patch changes with analog gear! Final Thoughts Just because you like the analog sound doesn’t mean you can’t get the benefits of digital, and your switching abilities should never be limited just because you’re a sucker for a new overdrive pedal.